Mill City Grows, Inc. wrote -
This year was an exciting year of expansion for Mill City Grows! We spent 2016 celebrating 5 years of growing roots in Lowell. Thanks to you, our incredibly supportive community, we grew our two Urban Farms and our citywide school and community gardens. Our Mobile Market brought local produce to thousands of residents across Lowell, while our Farm-to-School Program inspired students to make healthier choices. As we reflect on 5 years of “Growing for Lowell,” we’ve discovered this: changing our food system happens by planting seeds, both in the soil and in the minds of people throughout our City.
Over the summer, we met Brendon and Macayla, two young Lowell residents who found their work at Mill City Grows to be more than just a job. Brendon, a 25-year-old college grad born and raised in Lowell, made a living delivering pizza until he joined the Mill City Grows Farm Team. Macayla, who graduated from Lowell High this May, joined Mill City Grows as part of J-Squad, a food justice summer employment program for youth offered by Mill City Grows in partnership with the Career Center of Lowell.
Your gift of $40 or more can help us continue to offer farm-based education and experiential training for young people like Brendon and Macayla!
Before working with Mill City Grows, neither Brendon nor Macayla had any farming experience, nor were they aware of any urban farms in Lowell. They spent the summer working at our Urban Farms and Mobile Markets, sharing stories, recipes, and their passion for healthy food access with every volunteer, visitor, and market-goer they met!
Brendon and Macayla worked with hundreds of volunteers and MCG program participants, and even brought some of their lessons home. Brendon shared veggies with his family all season. “Next year I want a garden in my own yard,” he states, “where I can grow fresh herbs, scallions, kale, and tomatoes for my family.” Now studying accounting at Middlesex Community College, Macayla joined Mill City Grows’ West 3rd Community Garden near her home, and has integrated more produce into her diet by experimenting with recipes she’s learned from MCG staff.
Through their experiences at Mill City Grows, Brendon and Macayla have ignited their passion for local food, community, and sustainable living. They’ve transformed their lives, and have shown us that changing the food system does indeed happen by planting seeds in the soil and in the minds and lives of those around us. With your generous gift, we can continue to provide on-farm education through volunteerism, employment, and field trips to our Urban Farms. Help us plant the seeds of a healthier city all over Lowell by making a tax-deductible contribution today!
Thank you for your support and enjoy your holiday season,
Lydia Sisson and Francey Slater, Co-Directors of Mill City Grows